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Offline wpr  
#16 Posted : Monday, May 6, 2013 7:56:57 AM(UTC)
wpr

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Some people have suggested that the olive was a very deliberate and well-considered choice as a metaphor for peace, because olive trees famously take years to mature. War is typically very hard on the trees because people cannot take the time to nurture them and plant new ones. Therefore, the offer of an olive branch would suggest that someone is tired of war, whether it be an actual war or a falling out between friends.

In Ancient Greek and Roman times, people would offer literal olive branches. In Rome, for example, defeated armies traditionally carried olive branches to indicate that they were surrendering, and the Greeks incorporated them into weddings and other ceremonies. In the modern era, the branch is usually metaphorical, rather than literal, not least because the plants can be a bit difficult to obtain.

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The genesis of the olive branch reminds me of another term "white elephant". According to Paul Harvey's "Rest of the Story" leaders in India and South East Asia at times would give a white elephant to the leader of a strong opposition faction. The white white elephant was revered by the people so it was almost impossible to not accept the gift. Paul said the care and upkeep of elephants in general was so great that the person to which the elephant was given often did not have the time or money to be an effective opponent and the group that opposed the sultan or king or whatever name you want to give the sovereign would often melt away.
"You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em." Chesty Puller



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